Skip Nav
All the Kid-Friendly Halloween Movies You Can Stream Free With Your Amazon Prime Membership
Don't Stress Over Halloween Costumes For Your 1-Year-Old — Here Are 44 Cute Options
Ellen DeGeneres
Move Over, Oprah! Ellen DeGeneres Has Her Own List of 15 Favorite Things For Fall
Holiday For Kids
The Best Gifts For 3-Year-Olds in 2018
Kristen Bell Worries Princesses Teach Kids Bad Lessons
Kristen Bell
Kristen Bell Is Worried Disney Princesses Are Teaching Her Kids Bad Lessons, and She Has a Point

What Time Your Child Should Go to Bed

Just How Important Is an Early Rigid Sleep Schedule? More Than You Think!

I know I'm a pushover when it comes to my kids' bedtimes. After working all day and then running to an evening baseball practice or religious-school pickup, I'm happy to steal a few extra minutes with my kids. But an article up on Slate has me rethinking exactly what time I'm calling for lights out.

In her post entitled "In Defense of Absurdly Early Bedtimes," Melinda Wenner Moyer writes about adhering to strict 7 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. bedtimes for her almost-2-year-old and 5-year-old, respectively. She keeps her family's routine year round, regardless of the parties they are missing or the events she has to leave early. She writes:

"That's because my kids are happier and more fun to be around when I stick with a consistent and early bedtime. And ever since I've started looking at the science, I've become only more convinced that the earlier you say night-night, the better. Research consistently shows that putting kids to bed early is beneficial for their physical, emotional, and cognitive development. Not only do kids tend to sleep more when the lights go out sooner, but they also may get a greater proportion of restorative sleep, too. Early kid bedtimes are also great for parental sanity. Sipping a glass of wine in silence? Snuggling up with your spouse to watch a grown-up movie for once? It's really quite lovely."

While Moyer admits that her early bedtimes might not work for everyone, the research and experts seem to agree that it's the way to go. While I've been living under the impression that it is the total number of hours a child sleeps that matter, Dr. Marc Weissbluth, the popular pediatrician and author of Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, suggests otherwise, saying "when a child sleeps is probably as important or maybe more important as how much."


So is it time to give your kids an earlier bedtime? It might be. In the article, Dr. Weissbluth says parents should observe their toddler's behavior between the hours of 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. or between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. if their child is older. If they're grumpy, irritable, or lethargic, they may need an earlier bedtime. He suggests trying to put your child to bed 20 minutes earlier for a few nights in a row. "If he falls asleep easily, then chances are he or she should be going to bed earlier."

I'm still not sure if an earlier bedtime will work in my home, but I'm willing to give it a try. Because while those extra few minutes are nice, they're often filled with angsty behavior that just makes me wish we had put them to bed earlier. If you're not convinced that 7:30 p.m. is right for your child, check out this bedtime chart based on age and usual wake-up time that the administrators at Wilson Elementary School in Kenosha, WI, distributed to their families. It just may convince you that your child needs more sleep!

From Our Partners
Lilo & Stitch Elf on the Shelf
Kristen Bell Responds to Critics' Snow White Comments
Cinderella Carriage Strollers at Disney World
Symptoms of Paralyzing Polio-like Illness
Best Weighted Blankets Under $100
What Foods Help You Sleep Better?
Sleep Yoga Side Sleeper Pillow
Beauty Products That Help You Sleep
Dodow Sleep Aid Device
What Is REM Sleep?
Best Pregnancy Pillows 2018
I'm Never Going to Tell My Kids That Santa Isn't Real
From Our Partners
Latest Family
All the Latest From Ryan Reynolds